U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Thursday said Russia is forcing the United States to focus more intently on its nuclear security, and he added that the U.S. should work to modernize its nuclear deterrent.
"I mentioned earlier Russia and stimulating some additional thinking on energy security. They've also stimulated some additional thinking on nuclear security issues unfortunately," Moniz said during a speech at Columbia University on Thursday evening hosted by the Center on Global Energy Policy.
The U.S. Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration is tasked with guarding the safety and integrity of the nation's nuclear arsenal.
Moniz said he believes President Barack Obama has the right vision of working toward a nuclear weapon-free world, but he said the next administration will face difficult choices because "there is no reason today to think that that is not going to be a multi-decade activity."
"So a lot of money is going to have to be spent on modernizing the nuclear deterrent and rethinking exactly how it's used," he said, without elaborating on what form those changes should take.
Moniz added that Russia's annexation of Crimea and ongoing incursions into Ukraine since 2014 made the United States and Europe reconsider civilian energy policy, because the European Union is heavily reliant on imports of Russian natural gas.